Sunday, 3 October 2010


I finished this Advent Calendar this week, with help from these great girls Julie, Marg.Lynz and Jo, they along with myself are The Quick Christmas Quilting Bee 2010...

I am so very pleased with the finished calendar, it is just great on so many levels,  little pockets big enough to fit four little gifts for four children, lovely bright fabric and the perfect size to hang on a door..

This was my first time at free hand quilting, and I really enjoyed it, but I did learn a thing or two along the way !

* The slower I went on the foot pedal the larger the stitches became, I persume I need to try and keep at a constant pressure which is easier said than done !

* It is very easy to catch your fingers , ouch !, I think that is probably because the darning foot is a bit flatter than other feet..

* Would it have been better to draw the lines on in a disappearing pen ? Mine does look very scribbly, which I don't actually mind, but maybe if I had lines to follow it would be neater ?

Any advice on the above points would be most welcome...


A big thank you to the girls for all their help, I am sure I will have four very happy children come advent  xx


  1. I am sorry I have no advice on this at all. I am extremely impressed by your skills, though, what a work of art!

    Best wishes always,

  2. I haven't tried freehand quilting - always seems very scary, I think yours looks really good. So great to see the finished quilt. Well done. Juliex

  3. It's looking great Maria! The quilting is just fine for this sort of thing.

    If making something else and you want more control, my machine has a half speed option on it. I found that putting it on half speed would allow me to push the pedal right down, thereby having an even speed whilst still not uncontrollably running away. You then of course still have to move evenly with your hands but at least you do not have to worry about the pedal.

    On catching your fingers.. Set the needle to finish in the 'needle down' position. This means you can stop when you need to and not 'lose' your place and get an enormous stitch. Then make a square with your hands. To explain.. hold your hands up in front of you, and spread out your thumb and first finger as far apart as possible. Thumbs almost touching but not quite. You now have a square between your fingers and thumbs. Place your hands on the area you want to quilt a little apart from each other (it would be so much easier to just draw this!). This has the advantage you can smoothen the area inbetween as well as having total control over that little 'window'. Once the window is quilted (or the square, whatever you want to call it), you can stop the machine, needle down, and move your hands to the adjacent space to be quilted, your new square. You won't catch your fingers then as you can stop when you get to the edge and you have total control. Rubber tip gloves really help to maintain control of the fabric too.

    Drawing lines on stippling (the filling in sort of scribbly stuff you are doing) are not necessary. If you were to do flowers or feathers or a complicated quilt pattern, that would be helpful to have lines although it is very hard to stay on them! The most accomplished quilters do not use lines (and so don't have the problem of going over, lol) and do it all freehand but us beginners certainly can do with a little guide!

    Do remember, the more you do it, the better you get, and also that especially filler type of quilting (as opposed to birds, hearts etc) are very forgiving. My first quilt was rubbish (stitch length wise) but after washing and puffing up, you don't even notice so just enjoy it and don't worry and you'll get there in no time!

    In the meantime, your calendar looks great as it is and would not have done it any different!

  4. What a lovely advent calendar I'm sure your little ones will be very impressed with it. Well done you!!
    Pene x

  5. It is beautiful. I would love to know what you made the numbers with, is it felt appliqued?

  6. Maria, the advent calendar looks great and for a first time free motion quilter I think you did just fine . I am not that accomplished at free motion but do find that you get better the more you do it ,the above advise by Rafael's Mum is wonderful .

  7. How wonderful, and so much more exciting than a chocolate advent calendar, I have never quilted, but your's looks beautiful.
    florrie x

  8. This is amazing but I'm not a quilter so sorry, cannot help. Thanks for your comment. I cut the snowflakes using a Sizzix on my Bigshot. Yes, the stockings are knitted. The pattern is really easy so I can make them whilst watching TV!xx

  9. It turned out ever so beautifully, the children are going to love it.

  10. Your first attempt looks wonderful! Yes, as you found out it is easier to get a better looking product when you keep the speed up. You just need to coordinate your hands and your takes practice. Also remember to relax your shoulders. I would not mark the quilt top for meandering or stippling, but you might try the free motion gloves. They look a bit silly, but they do help to grip the quilt while quilting.
    It looks great!

  11. Your advent calender is gorgeous, your kids are going to be thrilled! Lovely choice of fabrics. :) x